So, I know this is something many women (particularly young women) have experience of. I live in Scotland and, more than once, I have been standing on the street or sitting in a public space and have been told by an older man (different men on each occasion…I think) to smile. In fact, the phrase of choice is: ‘cheer up lass, it might never happen’. In these circumstances, I have been neutral – maybe reading, in thought, or listening to music. This infuriates me because I know that men aren’t spoken to the same way. The mentality is that women are ‘prettier’ when they smile and, as women are only put on this planet for the pleasure of men, we should really always be smiling.
Girls night out at local pub, a table of about 10 of us, just having drinks and enjoying each other’s company. Two males, with a little too much to drink, invite themselves to sit down at our table and begin asking all kinds of nosy questions – what’s your name? Why are you all here alone? Alone? Jackass.. look around I’m surrounded by other women. Then start putting hands on several of the ladies and one guy tries making a grab for one lady’s breast, and making faces like he’s tonguing her. Basically broke up the entire night and everyone started to ask for their checks. The guys then tried to pressure several of the ladies to take them home or give them a ride someplace. Thankfully none of them did. Men who look at a group of women out for the night and say to themselves, “You know what’s missing from this picture? A Penis.. that’s what…” Just drop dead dude. No respect at all, the assumption that because we don’t have a man along with us, we MUST be cruising for one? And then when I tell other people about this.. women and men… I get this response…”Oh, they were drunk, and I mean, you should take it as a compliment.. they thought you were pretty.” Really? So I should be flattered some strange drunken male who can’t keep his hands to himself wants to butt into a clearly closed group of friends out for the evening? And, I should also excuse the behavior because he couldn’t hold his own damn liquor? Yep, that makes all the sense in the world. Idiots. I got home from that experience and just shook and cried in my husband’s lap for a couple hours. I’ve pretty much stopped having Ladies nights out as a result. Not worth the risk of even worse next time.
i am 15 years old in grade 10. I started to hear sexist comments in school by grade 5. On a daily basis I hear comments about women being unqualified to work, women belonging in the kitchen, women over using the term rape and sexual harassment and comments about feminists being cancerous, over weight and pretty much every other degrading word in the book. To top it off, every time i have spoke up to say something i get ‘its just a joke’ ‘take a joke’ ‘calm down its not like they really mean it’ … but my question stands, why is it that degrading women is so funny? It’s not a joke, it never was. I started getting cat called at 12 years old, when walking home from school on pajama day. In grade 7 i did a project on gender equality and was told by 4 boys in my class that it wasn’t real and it didn’t matter and to just sit down, shut up and look pretty. When i was 12 i was told by my friends grandfather that people need to stop making such a big deal about a few little jokes boys make time to time because boys will be boys. When I was 14 I went to a fair, and tripped on a rock. I fell to the ground and was immediately surrounded by boys I didnt know, all older than me. They turned to each other and said ‘what do we do with her? should we take her somewhere? what do you want to do to her? can i go first?’. so my bad for ‘not taking a joke’. im so sorry i don’t think my objectification is funny.
Inspired by this website, a talk from Laura, reading Laura’s books and many others, I have begun questioning policies that, as a teacher, I am expected to enforce. Uniform is an issue, but what has concerned me recently is a particular aspect of mufti day outfits. My school, like many others, occasionally has days when pupils are allowed to wear their own clothes. Particularly in the summer time, this causes an issue over midriffs. Now, in principle, the rule about covering midriffs applies to boys and girls, but in practice, it only effects/has an impact on the girls. Now, as a teacher of politics, I am a big fan of students asking for clarification and challenging rules. As long as it is done in an appropriate way this is a mark of an intelligent and independent person who will not blindly follow orders. When a pupil wears a crop, or a short top that may ride up, they will ask why it needs to be covered. To be honest, I can think of no good answer to this question other than a woefully inappropriate ‘because that’s the rule’. In a bid to find a justification, I have been trying to find possible justifications online. After many searches, these are basically the only justifications I can find for why girls (or women for that matter) should cover their midriff: It’s disgusting (what a wonderful message of bodily pride to give to women and girls) They’re just doing it to get attention (really? Even if that were true (which in many cases I doubt) why is that an issue?) It’s too sexual (firstly, it only seems to have become sexual because everyone is trying to cover it up, much like the Victorian obsession with ankles, and secondly, surely the issue is with the people who find the stomachs sexual) It will distract the boys/make male teacher’s uncomfortable (seems to be a bit of victim blaming here; covers girls legs, shoulders and, basically everything else too (pun intended). Maybe girls should hide until no one is distracted by them, or maybe men should hide themselves away until they’ve learnt to control themselves and stop,blaming girls for their issues) A general trend seems to be that by exposing the midriff girls are asking for trouble, which is just completely wrong. I could go on, I really cannot find any justification for requiring girls to cover midriffs other than boys/men sexualising them or that girls,stomachs are disgusting (which seem very contradictory views). Sorry for the long post, but if anyone can give me a reasonable justification for girls and women being required to cover their midriff (or shoulders or legs for that matter) I’d be eternally grateful.
I remember one of the first times I was catcalled. I was walking down my street, which is a main road, towards our local sports centre. I was nearly 15 years old. Some guys in a car drove past and yelled “you’re looking hot today!”. Fast forward to when i was 16, and i was walking to meet a friend. I passed a 50 something year old man who was sitting in a bus shelter and he looked at me very creepily and said “hello gorgeous!”. Fast forward again to when I was 18 and I was walking and talking and laughing with my 3 best girlfriends. We were walking fast so we didn’t miss our train which was in 2 minutes. We passed 2 older men in tradie uniforms, and when we walked passed them, they said “at least say hello ladies!”. I’ve been spoken to and yelled at by men inappropriately so many times that I’ve lost count, and because it has always seemed like the ‘norm’, I don’t remember half of them. But every single time a man decides to make comment about my body as if I am an object and not a person, I get the same feeling of disgust, terror and shame, I go red in the face, I feel tears in my eyes, i can’t make eye contact with passer-bys and I feel very, very unsafe, and not in control of my own body. The thing is about catcalling, it makes you feel out of control and out of possession of your own body. People who catcall women treat them like objects, whose body is for them to look at, comment on, drool over, talk to their mates about. It makes me feel ashamed of my own body. When I get dressed every morning, the unwanted thoughts of “but is this too revealing? will it attract cat callers? maybe I shouldn’t wear it just in case I get harrassed…” cross my mind. I wish men understood this. Catcalling is NOT ok and has to stop now.
So frequently I see and hear degrading language towards women in real life and online. If I try to find adult sexual material for enjoyment it is violent, disturbing and aggressive. The girl is always degraded and abused. Online forums and social media are full of disgusting comments about women being sluts/hoars and of discussions about dominance towards women. MGTOW, Youtube and Reddit constantly have aggressive language towards women. I had one male friend on xbox live who is married with children make sexual comments towards me repeatedly saying that he had masturbated over my picture. I dress plain and avoid attention in life just as an attempt to be treated as a human being and not a sex object. I am a virgin and actually avoid relationships because I feel that they are never equal and I am expected to fulfill some subservient female role being protected and having to be a mother and housewife when I don’t want to be. I am expected to babysit my nephew and my sister gets mad at me if I don’t even though I’m 34, childless and have OCD. My family expect me to help because I am a girl but I don’t want to be a child rearer. People constantly suggest I be a teacher because I am a woman when I don’t like standing up in front of groups of people let alone children. I constantly get pressure for refusing to focus on my appearance but I don’t want to be talked about the way I hear make friends talk about women as just objects to use and creatures just to be subservient to them. I just want to be an equal. I constantly get ‘helpful’ concern over the fact that I am single and 34 by people who seem to think that I can’t possibly take care of myself as a woman without a man and I fear not getting job interviews for not wanting to wear makeup. Everywhere I go everyone expects me to be this idea of a woman that I am not. I’m somewhere in the middle. Not girly but not boyish (tomboyish) and I feel female but no one accepts that I am not the traditional girl. I use gender neutral profiles online and avoid putting pictures just to escape the sexual obsession of men and the degrading behaviour and people always assume that they are talking to a man anyway. It’s tiring to have the whole world expect you to be someone else.
I work in a University in the UK, and I support colleagues with their research . A female colleague came to see me to discuss a potential research project on breastfeeding. She was very committed to the research and the need for it, as it could result in an intervention that might improve breastfeeding success. However, she was leaving the university as she felt unhappy about being here, and the response in a departmental meeting to her suggestion was so sexist and misogynistic that she felt unable to continue working with such people. A male colleague, collating their ‘group work’ for future project, took the poster that she was writing on, took the pen, and took over writing. When she mentioned her project and began to discuss it, he spoke over her, shut her down, and said “right, we’ll just write Tits.” So he did. She was dumbfounded, and so shocked she failed to challenge this. She was used to being talked over in meetings, and to experience the typical experience in meetings, of raising a topic, being ignored, and then having that topic being taken seriously later in the meeting when it was proposed by a male colleague. In this meeting, eventually another female colleague objected to her topic being reduced to the word ‘Tits’ and it was then crossed out and the word ‘breasts’ written instead. Not breastfeeding, but breasts. She was less than happy. She told me she didn’t want it reported or acted on, that I was not to do anything about it. I agreed to support her with finding colleagues to do her research project and agreed not to report the issue. My only recourse is to put it here.
I’ve just received a marketing email from a flooring company. I’ve noticed this before and it really pisses me off: each image of carpet features a model with amazing legs (hairless, perfectly toned and tanned, obvs) lounging seductively on the carpet. In none of them is she wearing anything more than a top. WTF is the point of that? Don’t they realise the people most likely to buy the carpet are women? In one pic, the model even has no head. Just a torso in a jumper and a pair of naked legs. Not only is this advertising offensive, but it’s bloody dumb too.
I applied for a job recently, in short, they had search me online and found my YouTube channel and replied to my email application by accident by saying my ‘Mrs looks worth a go’ with a link to my YouTube page for the intended to be able to presumably also gawp at my girlfriend. Here’s a link to the post I made on Facebook with all the emails and contact described on it. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10156156778395348&set=a.10154185582925348.1073741831.744875347&type=3
I’ve just seen something in our local paper, & I’m rather pissed about it, so excuse any bad language. There is a picture of Nicola Sturgeon & Teresa May sitting in chairs (the one that prompted the ‘Legs It’ article in the Daily Fail- where else?!) in the letters section, & there is a question underneath it which says, “what do you think? Is it humorous or demeaning to comment on top politicians’ legs? To join in the debate [email the local paper]”. WTF?! Are they for real? I can’t believe they’re turning this into a debate! I think it’s appalling, & I’m in the camp of thinking it’s demeaning, & not at all funny! I bet that if it had been Alex Salmond & one of the male MPs who was in the running for PM (had he gotten the job) having that discussion, the Mail wouldn’t have run that article. To add insult to injury, a guy who is a regular contributor to the letters section opined that “too much fuss is being made about the Legs It article”. I quote (apologies- I tried to go to the paper’s site to find a link to the letter, but searched in vain, so I’ve had to write it out in longhand, my blood simmering as I’m doing so): “A light-hearted piece by Daily Mail columnist Sarah Vine pinpointing the legs & knees of PM Teresa May & Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon when they met to discuss the vexed questions of Brexit & a Scottish second referendum has brought an outburst of abuse from some female MPs who consider the item deliberately demeaning & moronic sexism. A picture of both women showed an expanse of leg & a (sic) 4 curvaceous knees, prompting Sarah Vine to ask, “Who won legs-it”. I can’t see why the anger, both Teresa May & Nicola Sturgeon have fine legs & excellent knees. So why not dress to show them to the wider public? Just because both women are well turned out & reveal visible legs does not for a minute stop them from arguing their cases in favour of Brexit & a second Scottish referendum, they are both tough politicians [how nice of you to say so!]. But that doesn’t have to stop them from being feminine [because toughness isn’t feminine at all, right?!]. Those who decry the piece by Sarah Vine want to lighten up [a phrase I loathe- I’ve been told to do it several times by my mother when I’ve openly disapproved of sexist behaviour either on TV or by people in ‘real life’, & it only served to make me angrier] & realise that not all top female politicians, like Angela Merkel, have to dress in sombre fashion to prove they are doing their job in what is mostly a man’s world, like politics.” Alright then. So women are meant to put up with being objectified on the grounds that it’s a bit of banter (the ‘humourless feminist’ meme being trotted out again, I see- I’ve heard that one before!), shut up & take it as a compliment when people comment on their legs or whatever, & anyone who dares to stick up for them has also had a sense of humour failure. OK. Whatever, dude. This man is SERIOUSLY missing the point- women in the public eye should be able to dress how they want to without being picked apart for it (note that he couldn’t resist having a pop at Angela Merkel for the way she dresses, as if it’s any business of his!)! The fact that Ms Sturgeon & Ms May allegedly have good legs & look feminine (whatever the fuck that means) is irrelevant, & I couldn’t give a shit whether they do or not! It’s their policies & what they met to talk about that matters, not their clothes or their bodies! Even if they DO have good legs, that doesn’t give dirty old gits like this letter-writer the right to comment & ogle! I’ve never read any articles about male politicians’ bodies or clothes! Alas, it doesn’t surprise me that this man holds these views, as he has form when it comes to sexism. In the past, he’s written various misogynistic, chauvinistic & anti-feminist letters to the paper. One was after the Labour Party Conference a few years ago, when he launched into a tirade against Harriet Harman over the speech she made there. I can’t remember what exactly he said, but the words ‘feminist firebrand’ featured in the heading of said letter, so presumably he criticised her for talking about domestic abuse. When a woman wrote to the paper rebutting what he’d said & pointing out that domestic abuse is a more serious problem than he might think & that there are women who live in fear of the men in their lives, he responded by saying that it’s not just women who are victims of domestic abuse. How predictable that he’s someone who holds the view that there is no gender imbalance when it comes to domestic abuse. Another instance was when he wrote that it was all very well the powers that be cracking down on rape, they should be cracking down on punishing women who lie about it (because OF COURSE LOADS of women do that, don’t they?!). I was tempted to write a letter calling him out on this, but decided against it. He’s also criticised the fact that women are allowed to box, has criticised women who behave in what he perceives as an ‘unladylike’ fashion & has very ‘traditional’ ideas about gender roles. I suspect that these views may stem from the fact that he’s from a different generation, but that’s no excuse.